An Oil Based Economy For The Bahamas is coming.

“We understand that you are interested in exploring for oil in the North Sea. We hold the rights to this and we do not intend to grant any licenses before we know what we are doing. We are quite simply giving you a challenge: Educate us!.” (Jens Evensen, 1970)

It is estimated that the Bahamas may have more oil than Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Abu Dabi combined. This article will give an objective hypothesis on how we should go about managing and implementing an oil industry for the betterment of all Bahamians because at the end of the day we do not want anyone to be able to say, “Ya been hoodwinked! Bamboozled! Led astray! Run amok!” (Malcolm X) There is no room for error in this industry so I advise the Right Honorable Prime Minister, and his Administrative team need to implement a committee named the Oil Economic Counsel chaired by the Minister of Investments, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bahamian qualified persons to perform research and conduct comprehensive qualitative studies specifically on creating an oil industry for the Bahamas along with a few Norwegians. In essence it is proactive hypothetical committee that will be in place now. Cuba has it so they need to start working on legislations now. “In civilized society man stands at all times in need of the cooperation and assistance of great multitudes, while his whole life is scarce sufficient to gain the friendship of a few persons. . .” (Adam Smith)

We need to think in terms of creating a new Ministry for oil that will include economists, environmental experts, engineers, policy makers and specifically Norwegian experts to help guide and steer us towards a successful Oil Based Economy here in The Bahamas. Oil is a very complex and dangerous business but the benefit that can be reaped from it as a people is phenomenal if it is properly implemented and developed, especially for a country like the Bahamas where Government is stable, saxicolus, democratic and practical. It will definitely help The Bahamas to pay off its national debt of approximately $7 billion. It creates a whole lot more jobs in the field of science, chemistry, environmental and ecological studies so there will have to be a total paradigm shift in the area of education. It is important that we plan for this change now that we know that the Bahamas has oil, because eventually it will be dug up.

The best model I see for the Bahamas to look at is the Norwegian Model. According to Ishmael S. Amegah a Master of Oil and Gas Management, “The Norwegian oil and gas industry is considered one of the most successful globally, largely due to the prudent management of the resource, revenue and the robust health, safety and environmental regulatory regime it has in place. The country first found oil in the 1960’s in the vicious North Sea and has increasingly improved in the use of best technologies to harness the resource to reduce the socio-economic and environmental impacts that normally characterize exploration of oil and gas globally. The Norwegian HSE regulation for the offshore industry is considered by many as the best module for its effectiveness and holistic approach to addressing occupational health, safety and environment issues.”

To emphasize my point, for an oil based Ministry to be successfully implemented in the Bahamas the Government will have to play a major role in making sure that the legislations are introduced for the oil industry now in order to avoid corruption and massive wealth gain by any individual or company. We definitely do not want to experience the Trinidadian scenario of a country that has oil but is in great debt.we must, create a soverign funds for all Bahamian like Norwegian and Botswana. .we must especially put new law in place now to deal with a oli base economic. .

An oil based economy will also help to increase the GDP of the Bahamas by at least 60% as well as employ approximately 74,000 Bahamian people annually. According to a study done on sovereign wealth management by Harvard Business School, “Norway’s assets have grown to $400 billion over its 35 years”. Therefore, it is important that the Government of the Bahamas seeks to partner with the Norwegian model. Norway has the best sovereign wealth record and is not in debt like the other oil based economies. They will certainly help to clear the$7 billion debt that the Bahamas is now faced with. Research has shown that a proper wealth management system is the biggest challenge so why not allow the experts of Norway to be our mentors as we move forward in this great and provocative industry. “What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?” (Adam Smith)

For those who may be concerned about foreign companies taking over there is no need because the wealth Management System and Norwegian model works in favor of domestic firms over foreign companies because the wealth of the land resides with the country wherein it is found. We cannot be afraid to seek help from those who have more than 50 years of experience in the oil industry because it is a fact and saying that experience is the greatest teacher.

There are so many benefits of having an oil based economy but we cannot be afraid to move forward in accepting this challenge. Yes, there will be some who will argue on the point of protecting the environment but the Norwegian model makes provisions for implementing legislation that will protect our environment. This new endeavor must be carefully planned, researched and prepared for long in advance and that is why we cannot wait until the industry is finally implemented and accepted before we start preparing the people of the Bahamian nation for it through education and training.

That in itself is the challenge that we must overcome in preparing this country for a much wealthier future. Remember, there are other oil producing countries around the world but so far Norway appears to be the leading country in terms of producing oil. Many other nations produce oil but without proper guidance we can end up in debt just like them so the time for planning, research and training is now.

In the words of Adam Smith, “The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition is so powerful that it is alone, and without any assistance, capable not only of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmount 100 impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations.”

A Paradigm Shift is coming to the Bahamas very soon! Get ready!